Germany’s head of government, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, said he was against the extradition of journalist and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from the United Kingdom to the United States.

“I think it would be good if the British courts granted him the necessary protection, because he must suffer persecution in the United States, given that he betrayed state secrets,” Scholz said on Monday (4).

Scholz also said he believed the chances of extradition were reduced as US lawyers were “unable to assure the British judges, at the last hearing, that the possible punishment would be within a justifiable scope from the UK’s point of view.”

The US wants extradition so that Assange can face espionage charges. The journalist’s lawyers say they believe he will be sentenced to 175 years in prison.

The process

Assange is currently awaiting sentencing in a process that could take “weeks or months” in relation to his request not to be extradited to the United States, where he is accused of espionage. Two judges, Victoria Sharp and Jeremy Johnson, will decide, at an undetermined date, whether the United Kingdom hands over the founder of WikiLeaks to the United States.

The wife of the founder of Wikileaks, Stella Assange, spoke out in a video and criticized the journalist’s continued imprisonment, “indefinitely, in the worst possible conditions in the United Kingdom.” The founder of Wikileaks has been in the high-security Belmarsh prison, east of London, since 2019.

“Julian’s work and motivation has been to strengthen democracy and citizens to have access to the information that matters to democracy and to hold abusers accountable. It is these abusers who now abuse the legal system to keep Julian in prison indefinitely, in worst possible conditions in the UK,” he said.

Stella Assange appeals to the Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, who she considers the only politician who can resolve the journalist’s situation. “Because Australia is the United States’ most important ally, more important than Israel in the Middle East, more important than the United Kingdom. Australia has the power to bring Julian home. Anthony Albanese, more than anyone, has the destiny to Julian in your hands.”

Assange’s wife had already warned of the risk to life involved in Assange’s extradition, due to his fragile state of health. “His health is deteriorating, physically and mentally. His life is in danger every day he remains in prison and if he is extradited he will die,” she said at a news conference in the British capital.


The journalist did not attend the trial in February due to his poor health. United States lawyers argued before the British court that the journalist’s extradition request is not politically motivated.

“The charges are based on the rule of law and the evidence” against Assange, said Clair Dobbin, one of the US government’s lawyers, before the High Court of Justice in London. “He indiscriminately and knowingly published to the world the names of people who acted as sources of information for the United States,” Dobbi said.

On Tuesday (20), Julian Assange’s lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, pointed to “political motivations” in the extradition request. “My client is being sued for carrying out a common journalistic practice of obtaining and publishing confidential information, truthful information and information of clear and important public interest.”

Is reporting a crime?

Assange’s extradition is requested by the United States courts because he has published, since 2010, more than 700,000 confidential documents about Washington’s military and diplomatic activities, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. If extradition is approved, the Australian could be sentenced to up to 175 years in prison in the United States.

The WikiLeaks founder was detained by British police in 2019 after spending seven years confined in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he sought refuge to avoid extradition on charges of sexual assault in Sweden, which were later dropped.

The NGO Reporters Without Borders visited the journalist in January, in the maximum security Belmarsh prison, east of London, where he has been held for almost five years, and stated on Tuesday that Assange is ill and has broken a rib due to excessive coughing.

“This reinforces the risks to his physical and mental health that exist under current conditions of detention, which would worsen if he were extradited,” said the NGO.

Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho


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